P is for Prayer

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(This post is part of the ongoing series ABCs of Hospital Chaplaincy.)

“Why do we look down?” I asked my grandmother one Sunday after prayer time in church. “Isn’t God up in heaven? How come we don’t pray looking up?” My childhood question was a sincere one, but I don’t worry so much now about the right posture for praying. As a hospital chaplain, I have seen and participated in countless forms of prayer. I no longer think that God would be more likely to hear us if we looked in the right direction. Anytime we pray — and I believe we all do, whether or not we call it prayer — we are somehow looking for, reaching out for God.  Continue reading “P is for Prayer”

Why You’ll Never Hear Me Say “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle”

I was sitting at the bedside of a tearful patient, a woman hospitalized with pain and bleeding after her fifth consecutive miscarriage.  A few hours after she checked in, she got a phone call from a family member telling her that her youngest sister had been killed in a car crash.  Her nurse asked me to visit her that evening, and so I sat, holding her hand, telling her how sorry I was.  Then she said it.  “I know they say God won’t put on us any more than we can handle, but I . . . I just . . .”  She fell back against the bed, sobbing too hard to speak.

“But it feels like more than you can handle right now,” I offered.  She nodded and squeezed my hand. Continue reading “Why You’ll Never Hear Me Say “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle””